CBD is the second most abundant compound in the cannabis sativa plant, and many studies suggest it may indirectly promote sleep. In fact, CBD — which doesn’t cause the intoxicating psychoactive “high” associated with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — could help people with various sleep disorders, including insomnia and restless legs syndrome, as well as other conditions known to cause them negatively impact sleep, according to research.

For example, CBD can help people relax by relieving anxiety and pain, two factors that can make it difficult for someone to fall asleep or stay asleep, says Dr. Strachan.


The hypothalamus plays a role in several sleep-related functions, including regulating body temperature and synchronizing sleep patterns. CBD may help people with insomnia because it works with the hypothalamus to regulate stress, says Dr. Whitelocke. “Insomnia results from an overactive stress response that transitions into a period of rest when we’re not trying to process conscious trauma,” he adds. “CBD can suppress this dysregulated cycle of stress hormone overactivation and balance sleep and wake cycles through counteracting hormones.”

In a study examining the effects of cannabis on insomnia, researchers found that CBD was more effective at relieving symptoms of insomnia than delta-9-THC, the most abundant active ingredient in the cannabis sativa plant, which produces an intoxicating psychoactive effect Has.

Circadian rhythm disorders

Circadian rhythm disorders, also known as sleep-wake cycle disorders, occur when the body’s internal clock, which dictates when you fall asleep and when you wake up, is out of sync with your environment. Circadian rhythm disorders can develop when sleeping habits change, often due to travel or work, or as a by-product of disease, aging, or genetics.

CBD can improve both the quality and quantity of sleep by ensuring the body goes through the normal phases of sleep and REM sleep without undue disruption, which would help people with circadian rhythm disorders, says Dr. Whitelock. “CBD’s action on cannabinoid receptors triggers a cascade of events, culminating in a more natural sleep rhythm relative to the circadian rhythm of day and night,” he explains. However, more research is needed.

CBD may be especially helpful for people like nurses who suffer from circadian rhythm disorders due to shift work, where sleep windows change depending on a person’s work schedule.


Many studies have shown that CBD is a potential treatment for anxiety disorders. While more research is needed, studies link CBD use to improved sleep due to its ability to reduce anxiety.

“CBD’s well-established role in reducing anxiety—without inducing the stoney lethargy that can accompany THC products—makes it an ideal tool for calming intrusive thoughts before bedtime,” says Dr. Whitelocke. More specifically, CBD acts on the endocannabinoid receptors in the limbic system — a set of brain regions known to play a role in many important functions, including regulating emotions, storing memories, sexual arousal, smell (or our sense of smell). and formation of learning patterns. When the limbic system is thrown out of balance, such as when an intrusive memory leads to anxiety and insomnia, CBD activates the ECS to suppress that memory and consequently facilitate sleep. “By restoring hormone balance,” says Dr. Whitelocke, “CBD acts like the great leveler.”

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Restless Legs Syndrome

CBD may treat Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), a neurological condition that can affect sleep quality and quantity by causing an uncomfortable and uncontrollable urge to move the legs. Early research suggests that CBD may reduce the frequency of abnormal nerve firing that leads to involuntary muscle spasms, which is the hallmark symptom of RLS, says Dr. Whitelocke. “For a person who has a tendency to wake up during sleep due to limb movement, this can be a huge benefit,” he says.

Many preliminary results linking CBD use to improved RLS symptoms are based on patient self-reports, and more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of CBD as a treatment modality for RLS.

chronic pain

Studies show that CBD has promising pain relief potential. Researchers found that by applying products containing CBD oil to painful areas, study participants reported less pain and swelling, which is often associated with inflammation.

dr Whitelocke says that for people who can’t tolerate the intoxicating effects of THC, CBD—ingested or applied topically—offers an alternative for analgesia (or pain relief). “Regarding sleep, adequate pain control is critical to being able to relax the body and mind without worrying about the addictive or toxic effects of other analgesic alternatives,” he says.